Tag Archives: domestication

Exploring empathy in animals

oxyA nice little review of new study about voles exhibiting empathic behaviors toward one another. It features a squirrel studying alum from my lab, Stephanie Preston! I would add that some of the willingness to look at empathic behaviors in other animals is not neccessarily due to a shift away from abhorring anthropomorphism, but a shift away from anthropocentrism!

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Dogs: Always dressed up

Why do animals have white patches? Does your dog or cat have "mittens" or a white tail tip? It appears that domesticating animals somehow has selected for this pattern of coat colors...and @DogSpies is going to tell us more!

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From the trenches at CSF/FSF

There's an exciting conference happening RIGHT NOW in the UK, the Canine Science Forum (which for the first time, this year, had a Feline Science Forum). Mia Cobb and Julie Hecht (of Do You Believe in Dog & DogSpies fame) are reporting live and storifying their tweets for our reading pleasure!

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The Dodo is a new website, named after the extinct bird, and focused on the complexities of our relationships with other animals. I'm excited to be a founding member of the Dodo community. There's loads of great reading on the website, including the first installment of a series I am doing on what it means to be a cat person....

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There's also been intense and eye-opening coverage of the dolphin hunt in Taiji, and DogSpies own Julie Hecht summarizes why your dog only LOOKS but doesn't feel guilty.

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That's just the tip of a huge iceberg of fascinating reading! I look forward to seeing what transpires as the Dodo continues to grow and evolve...

 

 

 

It's Friday again already? Here's what I liked this week!

5000 years of love: Cats became domesticated earlier than we thought

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We know humans and cats hung out together at least 9500 years ago. And we have evidence of domesticated cats dating 4000 years ago. We didn't know much about what happened between these two time periods until now. Scientists have found evidence for co-existence (cats living on human food) and possible domestication in China 5000 years ago.  Read more here or here

Social learning in chimps

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A study in Zambia found differences between chimp colonies in how they open hard-shelled fruits, demonstrating support for both social learning and culture. If you can, read the source article, or try this article (Some articles had absurd statements, like, "further strengthens the fact that chimps are our closest relatives!" - uh, no that's proven by genetics...).

Dogs recognize familiar faces from images

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This study looked at both research dogs and pet dogs in Helsinki, presenting them with images (both upright and inverted) of humans and dogs (familiar and strangers), then used eye-tracking technology to measure where they looked and for how long. Dogs like to look at pictures of other dogs, and they look longer of images of both familiar dogs and humans, and they particularly spend more time looking in the eye area. Original article here, news write up here.